Thing 12 – Attending conferences

My first library conference I attended was the first event of the New Professionals Day Ireland in 2013 in March. The event was free, I just had to book my free ticket via Eventbrite. It was an absolutely brilliant day for new and aspiring information professionals as it provided such a great opportunity to build my professional network. I was still a postgraduate student and was very excited about attending my first professional event. Oh, and I was very nervous as I was going on my own. What I actually found was that it’s scary only the first 10 minutes. Then you say hello to whoever is sitting right beside you and that’s it! The best thing is that people who attend professional conferences have something in common, so there is a lot of scope for a small (or even a big) talk. So, my tip for going to conferences solo is just say hello to whoever is sitting beside you.
So, overall I love going to library events, because it is such a nice community. As someone who is not working in the sector and is looking for a library job, I enjoy so much every event I attend, and usually I come home charged with good energy and enthusiasm!
One of my most recent event I attended was the seminar organized by LAI CDG “Abstract to Audience: a guide to conference presentations”. I have to say, that was one of the most interesting events I have attended so far. This event featured invaluable tips and experience of presentation skills shared by very inspirational people – Dr. Sandra Collins (the new director of the NLI), Niamh O’Sullivan (Academic and Special Libraries committee and the IBTS), Laura Connaughton (Maynooth University), Peter Dudley (Manager of Public Services in DCU). Even several days after the seminar I was still elated by the good atmosphere of this conference.
During all of the events I attend I have a notebook with me and I scribble down some interesting points/tips during the event. Although, I have to say that I rarely revisit my notes again, partly because of the “ugliness” of my handwriting and partly because the organizers always put up a summary/blog post of the event with presentations and important links. So, in a way, I do not need to take any notes, just sit back and enjoy the experience and networking. On the other hand, during my last event I embraced Twitter (still getting use to tweeting during the events) and, instead of taking notes I followed the Twitter feed of the event and sent few tweets myself. The best thing about tweeting during the conferences I think is that you can connect with many new people and expand you professional network at the same time.
This is my experience in attending library events so far. I get very excited about every event I have an opportunity to attend. In the last couple of years I attended six library events, although I would like to go much more often. Also, while I always go on my own, I never feel lonely – I think that library community is such a nice crowd that even if you’re really shy, you’ll still be pulled in some nice chat during a coffee break or post-event networking session at the pub. Just give it a go.

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2 thoughts on “Thing 12 – Attending conferences

    1. Thanks, Caroline. I really think that seminars and conferences give you so much in terms on keeping up to date and networking. Especially, if someone (like me) is still looking for their place in the library and information world. It’s just a really useful way to stay connected.

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